Janet Kistler, 3rd Grade, Cub Run Elementary
Cub Run, Kentucky
a Model to Understand Location of Partner Classrooms
My students and I enjoyed the phenology exchange. I took part for the first
time last year with my third grade class. I plan to do more with it this year.
We have already taken our first set of seasonal data, along with having students "adopt" a
tree for the year. We want to have data for each month of the school year,
and exchange information starting on the equinox. It
might be fun to exchange data with more than one school this year.
Last year, I wondered how to use the data to locate our partner classroom.
I used the data from our first exchange and created a model with a large globe,
toothpicks, overhead projector and clay. I set up the globe so that the "sun" (overhead
projector) and "earth" (globe) would be positioned correctly to represent
noon in Kentucky on the autumnal equinox. Then I stuck a toothpick on Kentucky
with a bit of clay. Students measured the shadow on the model, like we had
measured the length of the meter stick shadow outside. Then I placed another
toothpick further south on the globe, and we measured that shadow. We noticed
that the shadow was shorter. I placed a third toothpick north of our location
and we saw that its shadow was longer. We could tell from this model that our
partner classroom was north of us, because their meter stick shadow was longer.
We confirmed this with temperature data.
An older classroom that works with ratios may be able to determine roughly
how much farther north or south the partner classroom is located using a model
We also made line graphs of the shadow and daylength data at the end of the
year. They show a beautiful symmetry.
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